No pain–no gain! We pay a price to free ourselves from any and all addictions.

 

First of all we know that the first step to freeing ourselves from the deadly clutches of any and all addictions is to ADMIT that our life is out of control, unmanageable and that  we are powerless  over what has us by the throat! Our lives have hit the wall and there is no place to go but to seek HELP. Humbling it is. To ask for help. But it is absolutely necessary if we are to free ourselves from the pain of any addiction.

I am speaking from my own experience with that deadly and scary reality that we all know as  depression. I finally came to the frightful reality that if I wanted my life back then I would have to do something that I had never done before.  I had to admit that I was beat. I had it. My life was a mess and I had created it by gradually drifting away from taking care of my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual life. Just by my admission that my life was in shambles, I realized, begrudgingly, that I had to take full responsibility for cleaning up the mess. And where was I to find that  solution to the cancer-like illness  which was eating me up with each depressed and hopeless breath?

From Alcoholics Anonymous I found my solution. They told me that my pain was the door that I had to go through if I was ever to find any peace for my troubled life.  And so I went through that door which opened me up to hope and belief that there truly was a way the  out of the daily mental grind of sadness and despair. It came  to me that the fellowship of those using and working the 12 Steps of recovery  had all found a home.

“There was a time when we ignored trouble , hoping it would go away. Or, in fear and in depression, we ran from it, but found  it was still with us. Often, full of unreason, bitterness, and blame, we fought back. These mistaken attitudes, powered by alcohol, guaranteed the destruction, unless they were altered.

Bill W., continues sharing,     “Then came A.A. Here we learned that trouble was really a fact of life for everybody – a fact , that had to be understood and dealt with. Surprisingly, we found that our troubles could under  God’s grace, be converted into unimagined blessings.”

“Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself: trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended. This was the A.A. story, and we became a part of it. Such demonstrations  became our stock in trade for the next sufferer.”

Because of my own terrible pain of an insufferable depression I founded a group centered on the 12 Steps  and which made these spiritual principles part and parcel of my daily life.  This group is aptly called Depressed Anonymous.

Yes, I still have troubles, but now I can help others by sharing my own story of hope and serenity . Even though we may not be alcoholics, we can have a hope that these Steps can help me as well to leave the prison of depression.

For more information about who we are and what we are about please take a look at the menu that appears on the first page of our website Depressed Anonymous.

The Depressed Anonymous Workbook  tells us  how “Where humility had formerly  stood for a forced feeding on humble pie, it now begins to mean the nourishing ingredient which can give us serenity.

This improved perception of humility starts another revolutionary change in our outlook. Our eyes begin to open to the immense values which have come out of painful ego puncturing. Until now, our lives have been largely devoted to running from pain and problems.

We fled from them as from a plague. We never wanted to deal with the fact  of suffering. Then in A.A., we looked and listened. Everywhere we saw failure and misery transformed by humility into priceless assets.  We heard story  after story  of how humility  had brought strength out  of weakness. In  every case pain had been the price of admission into a new life.  But this  admission price  had purchased more than we expected. It bought a measure of humility, which we soon discovered to  be a  healer of pain. We began to fear pain less and  desire  humility more than ever. ”

Are you will to pay the price?

SOURCES:    As Bill sees it: The A.A. Way of life…selected writings of A.A.’s co-founder. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., New York.

  The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2002) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. pg.60-61.

                           Depressed Anonymous,3rd edition.(2011 Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

For more literature please VISIT THE STORE. Also note that the HOME STUDY SELF HELP STUDY combo can be purchased together. All purchases can be made online at this site.

 

Depressed Anonymous meetings are normally positive and the focus is upbeat!

WHAT IS DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS?

Depressed Anonymous is modeled after the 12 Steps (principles) of Alcoholics Anonymous and was  founded in Evansville, Indiana in May of 1985. It uses a group approach where members mutually support each other.

In Depressed Anonymous the depressed person admits that he/she is powerless over his or her depression. The depressed person admits that the various areas of his/her lifer are controlled by depression, and that he /she needs help from one’s inner resources, combined with a faith in a Higher Power to help work through one’s time of hopelessness and helplessness.

At Depressed Anonymous meetings, we do not pry into people’s personal lives. We also do not give advice at meetings but instead tell our story and how the 12 steps are releasing us from the tight grip of depression. Meetings are normally upbeat and the focus is positive! Each of  us set  small concrete  and positive goals for ourselves and begin to learn how to gain some mastery over our lives and feelings. Each of us has time at meetings to share our experiences with other member so f the group. As a new member you are ready to make a commitment to quit sadding  oneself, and that’s when results begin to happen.

This 12 Step recovery program can be a great healer  of personal wounds and provides the depressed with a new start in lifeIt also provides hope for people like yourself who have been where you are. Hope now resides where once there was only darkness and despair!

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SOURCE: (C)  I’ll do it when I feel better.(2013). Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville, Ky. Pages 22-23.  Chapter Three: What  is Depressed Anonymous.

Please VISIT THE STORE and  discover the many exciting chapters, which will outline hope for the depressed and how the group can provide essential tools for unlocking the prison of one’s own depression.

The depressed seem to have an allergic reaction…

“Any thought that passes the  depressed person’s mind for example, such as feeling worthwhile , good, acceptable to self and others just doesn’t seem to sink in to make that much of a difference to persuade the depressed person to really believe that something good is going to happen to them. The depressed seem to have an emotional and physical reaction, much like having an allergic reaction  to anything that even comes close to having a hope that they will begin to feel better.

The best way to cure an allergy is to stay away from those substances, chemicals  and environments that cause us to have a bad reaction. Once  the allergic reaction sets in, the  depressed again plummets down the endless spiral of hopelessness and helplessness. To have that “vital spiritual experience” called for in Depressed Anonymous is second to none when it comes to getting out of the prison of depression. The fellowship of the program is a “sine qua non” of recovery but without having had that “vital spiritual experience”  it is doubtful whether or not one can stay out of the depression pit for any length of time.  We don’t expect that this means that you have to have reached the highest union with God before you can find relief but it just means that you begin trying out the feeling of turning some of this pain that you feel to the ” care of God as you understand God.” It used to be  major concern of mine that when people came to one meeting but never came back for the second meeting I would worry about why they didn’t come back. But this program doesn’t work that way. For those who expect a quick fix –why not? –      we have been suffering for so long and we want it to stop now! We find out sadly  that it doesn’t work this way. Those who do return –week after week-this is where the success stories lie. These brave souls by their struggles to get better and who begin to share their stories of pain and hurt, release in themselves the force of healing that continues with each passing meeting and with each encounter with other members  story of hope and renewal.

SOURCES:

Depressed Once – Not twice. (2000) The autobiography of the spiritual journey out of the prison of depression. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. (See Appendix: The VITAL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE)

 

Stepping up to hope.

“I want to get well so badly…”

These words were spoken by Helen, who as an active member of Depressed Anonymous found that she was no longer alone. She tells us that  when a person wants relief from the pain and isolation of their depression that they will go to any lengths to find help.

She writes in the Personal Stories section of Depressed Anonymous the following testimony:

” I finally knew after two years or more of sleepless nights that someone had to help me. I found a card saying “Depressed Anonymous” in the back of the phone book. It had a phone number and that was all. I talked to the man on the other end of the phone. I said to myself, this man is too busy to talk with me, but anyway I made the first appointment myself. I made myself go. I thank God that I did. I thank God that I went for help. It was a whole new beginning for me. I wanted to  get well so badly. I think people do have to want to change. I went in with the attitude that I have to get well. I heard things about counselors that  scared me, but this was just all the old negative feelings that caught up with me and boxed me in.

I got better and started to think differently. I started to get rid of some of my negative thoughts. I began to feel better and I continued to see my counselor. I started in Depressed Anonymous some weeks later.”

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You know, sometimes it takes just that one person with their liberating story of being freed from the isolation and pain of depression that we feel that there is hope for me. If it worked for Helen, it can surely work for me as well.  If you would like to read Helen’s working free of depression see the full account in Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011).

Available at Depressed Anonymous Publications.

12 Ideas about appropriate self-help activities for use when depressed.

1. Attributing the depression to a cause. 2. Attempting to rectify the problem considered responsible for evoking the feeling of depression. 3. Finding social and moral support. 4. Engaging in diverting and distracting  recreations.  5. Keeping busy and working. 6. Focusing one’s attention elsewhere than on the depression problems or depressed feelings. 7. Restructuring one’s cognitions so as to minimize the significance of the depressing events. 8. Engaging in  self-care and maintenance activities. 9. Visiting one’s emotions. 10. Taking prescribed medication. 11. Finding compensations and boosting feelings of self-esteem/ or self sufficiency through useful, purposeful activity. 12. Taking comfort in one’s religious beliefs.

Source: Rippere, V., and Williams, Ruth. Wounded Healers. NY: John Wiley and sons. Ltd.,1985.

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I might add that one of the more therapeutic activities for a person depressed is to join a Depressed Anonymous group where you will find yourself no longer alone and isolated. The group members will speak a language which tells you that they know what you are  experiencing. And when you do turn your attention to your personal experience with depression they will provide you with a solution-focused plan of recovery. We call it the Twelve Step program of recovery This plan has been tried and tested for almost a century now, and  has been found to be the “real deal.”

Take a look at some of the literature offered by Depressed Anonymous, use it,  then become a believer that it works.

Sources: Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville

Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. (2011) Depressed  Anonymous Publications. Louisville..

We learn to be “nice.”

” Because you are unaware of being angry does not mean that you are not angry. It is the anger you are unaware of which can do the most damage to you and to your relationships with other people, since it does not get expressed, but in inappropriate ways. Freud once likened anger to the smoke in an old fashioned wood burning stove. The normal avenue for discharge of the smoke is up the flue and out of the chimney; if the normal avenue is blocked, the smoke will leak out the stove in unintended ways…around the door, through the grate, etc., choking everyone in the room. If all avenues of escape are blocked, the fire goes out and the stove ceases to function. Likewise, the normal human expression of anger is gross physical movement and /or loud vocalization; watch a red-faced hungry infant sometime. We learn to “be nice,” which  means  (among other things) hiding “bad” feelings. By adulthood, even verbal expression is curtailed, since a civilized person is expected to be “civil.” Thus, expression is stifled, and to protect ourselves from the unbearable burden of continually unexpressed “bad” feelings, we go to the next step and convince ourselves that we are not angry, even when we are.  Such deception is seldom completely successful and the blocked anger “leaks out” in inappropriate ways…”

Source: The Depressed Anonymous Workbook (2001) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville. Page 33.

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Some of my own feelings about anger have to do when anger is stifled or swallowed. I do know that a result of stifling my anger is the build up of resentments. If we want to really deal with our anger then we must be willing to express our feelings,  even though they might make us feel very uncomfortable. All I am saying is that  NOT to express feelings and stifle them will create more emotional pain and more damage for our lives. So, to my mind, the best way to get the anger out is to get oneself to a Depressed Anonymous meeting where we can get the help we need  and share those feelings that cause us so much grief.

“I felt the presence of my Higher Power every step of the way.”

Dear Depressed Anonymous Fellowship

I have been depressed for the last sixteen years.  The more I learn about depression the more I feel I have been depressed since I experienced a childhood trauma at age of 10.

In early April I found myself, once again, spiraling down into the abyss. I thought  “I cannot go thru this again.” I started to cry and I prayed out to my Higher Power for help. I remember saying “Lord,  if you lift me or remove me  of this depression, I will spend the rest of my life helping depressed people.”  I meant it.  This was no mere foxhole prayer.  No deal making with my Higher Power. This was for real.

I started thinking “there has to be an anonymous  program for depression. There  are anonymous programs for many other subjects. I kept praying the whole time. I got on the Internet and there it was. It wasn’t easy to find but I kept searching. (Google: www.depressedanon.com).

I began to research for meetings in my area or within a 40 mile radius of my home. It really wasn’t easy to find but I kept searching. Much to my chagrin I found nothing.

I purchased the Depressed Anonymous Manual and the Depressed Anonymous Workbook. I started reading the Manual. Started making sense to me. A lot of sense. I have been a member of another 12 step program for over 30 years so the language  was familiar to me. I started trying to reach Depressed Anonymous by phone, email and writing a letter. Since I couldn’t go to a meeting I started praying about starting one in my area close to me.  I got a response from a DA member  within a week and he sent me books and literature  on how to start a group.  Actually the info is In the Depressed Anonymous Manual.

I started to talk to some friends who are depressed and they said that they were interested and would do anything to help.

One person, Mike, found a meeting room for us. Another person, Bob, he did all of our flyers and meeting information. He even laminated the materials. What a great contribution form both of them. Our first meeting was held in the April of 2015. Turn out was  approximately 28 persons. What a great beginning.

We now meet every Tuesday eve in Glenolden, PA.  Glenolden is approximately 15 miles south of Philadelphia.

All through this process I kept  praying for our Higher Power to guide and protect us. Also prayed for the knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out. I felt the presence of my Higher  Power every step of the way..

What an incredible    experience. We hope to start other groups meetings in the surrounding areas.

Signed,

Cathy B., of the  DA Fellowship in Glenolden, PA.

Share your story and save your life.

Last night at a Depressed Anonymous meeting, a member shared how she felt that our members do a great service to those still depressed by sharing their story of recovery from depression. It was then  pointed out that Ralph, a member of Depressed Anonymous for 23 years now, had his own story of recovery published in the first edition of Depressed Anonymous(1998). The title of his story appeared under the title Depressed Anonymous is Ralph’s Guardian Angel. The story is a real tribute to that person’s faith  who  to this day continues to use  the Twelve Steps as a way to  stay out of depression. His story and  the many others in the Depressed Anonymous book, now in its  3rd edition, continue to inspire us and give us hope. We too  can have the same experience as Ralph. In fact, it was suggested at the meeting last night  that Ralph write and give an account for how his life has been  since the time that he penned that account (1992) of his own personal recovery from depression.

In Ralph’s personal account t of his recovery experience he tells us ” that the group has been my guardian angel who was speaking to me all the time. I learned that there was hope for me after all.  There is a new rebirth in me spiritually, emotionally and physically. I believe that I can go on with my life without all the fears that I bottled up inside  me.  As long as I have faith in my Higher Power and the Depressed Anonymous group, there will be no mountain that I cannot climb. I am forever grateful.”

(Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.  Personal Stories section. Story #7 on pages 117-118.)

I might add that Ralph has been the staying force  in our community for facilitating a  Depressed Anonymous meeting, ensuring that the group has a place to meet,  and just keeping the door open for anyone who wants to find hope and fellowship which is the kind of hope that Ralph found when he entered that door of the fellowship for the first time. (I remember well. I was there./ Editor)

I can tell you that it is in the telling of the story that gives us hope–always. That is why at our Twelve Step meetings we have speakers who share their story of recovery for those not acquainted with the hope, healing and serenity that our recovery  journey provides, one  day at a time. Also, by having so many personal stories in our manual we know how important it is to show that what we believe  actually works. The  ” proof is in the pudding” as the old saying goes. At the beginning of every meeting, the  leader for that meeting shares with the group the way their life was before they found and put the power of the Twelve Steps into their lives, and now, how their life is today.

The more we come together and share our stories, that is our struggles with depression, the more we find the solutions just as did Ralph who found the Depressed Anonymous fellowship to serve as his guardian angel. And from the meeting last night I see that Ralph’s guardian angel is still very much on the job. I am grateful.

Sources:  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville.

Believing is seeing:15 ways to leave the prison of depression. (2015) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.

Belling the cat

“The mice once called a meeting to decide on a plan to free themselves of their enemy, the Cat. At least they wished to find some way of knowing when she was coming, so they might have time to run away. Indeed, something had to be done, for they lived in such constant fear of her claws that they hardly dared stir from their dens by night or day.  Many plans were discussed, but none of them was thought  good enough.

At last a very young Mouse got up and said:

“I have a plan that seems very simple, but I know it will be successful. All we have to do is to hang a bell about the Cat’s neck. When we hear the bell ringing we will know immediately that our enemy is coming.”

All the mice were much surprised that they  had not thought of such a plan before. But in the midst of their rejoicing over their good fortune, an old mouse arose and said:

“I will say that the plan of the young mouse is very good. But let me ask one question: Who will bell the Cat?”

The moral of the story: “It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.”

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In our work, I’ll do it when I feel better (2013), the moral of the story there is pretty much the same as  in  Belling the cat.  We tell ourselves that I’ll bell the cat of my addiction , which is killing me, only when I feel better. Of course, it never  happens. I never feel better.  I tell myself that I can’t even muster up  the energy to even begin the process  of taking on my sadness and those deadly feelings of helplessness.  But bell the cat I did! I knew that either I start helping myself out of the pit of my despair or lose my mind. The “cat” in my fight  had me physically, mentally and spiritually  immobilized.   Only because I had hit the wall did I begin to do something. I admitted that there is a problem and I had to DO something!

In the 1st Step of Depressed Anonymous which tells us quite directly and without equivocation  “We admitted that we were powerless over depression and that our lives had become un-manageable.”  OK. There you have it. I began to tie the bell around  the  old cat’s neck! That is the first step–to admit –and then to do something about it. It’s the beginning of a personal movement toward health and peace. But as we all know, this mouse (me) is never alone. I have a whole group of folks just like myself who have tied the ribbon around their addictions. Taking one Step after another we all have found a way to live our life without fear and depression.

For more information please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition (2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville and check out other books/ literature at Visit the Store at our site.

RAY’S TESTIMONY ABOUT THE POWER OF DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

” What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  Well,  first let me say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped.  I stopped going because my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around or talk to anyone. I just didn’t want to do anything except to crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there and one of the members of the Depressed Anonymous  group where I attend answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at the meeting. I attended the next Depressed Anonymous meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.”

SOURCE:Ray, in his personal testimony on pages 133-134 in  Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.